All lectures and forums will be held at Hunter College, North Building on 69th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues (see map) in the Lang Recital Hall on the 4th floor. The theater seats 150 people so tickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets are $25 general admission ($30 at the door with check or cash, no credit cards), and $15 for students with ID. There will be a private reception held after most events which is $10 to attend. All tickets may be purchased online by credit card, by sending a check (address on the 'Contact Us' page) or by calling 888.606.2282.
Speaking Up For Elephants
William Clark, James C Deutsch, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Patrick Omondi
The world is facing a crisis with one of its most precious, charismatic and beloved resources. Elephants are being slaughtered and driven to extinction. The brutality of the killings and the numbers are staggering. Almost 39 tons of illegal ivory was seized in 2011 (thought to be only 10% of what was actually taken), with a worth of up to $1,000 a pound on the streets of China. It is estimated that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes (96 a day) to insure a continuous supply of ivory for the trinkets and carvings so prized by Asian and US consumers.
Elephants are a legacy of today's world for the future. These large-brained, magnificent animals lead socially, behaviorally and cognitively complex lives about which we have so much more to learn and appreciate. It is critically important that the global community do all that it can to protect them.
On October 4th, Thinking Animals will join others around the world in an effort to stop these horrendous crimes. Our panel discussion, Speaking Up For Elephants will cover what makes these animals so extraordinary and what is be being done world-wide by the international community to save them.
PREVIOUS LECTURES FROM THE
Big Cats / Little Cats
Rebecca Sites, Steve Zawistowski
Cats are the most enigmatic of our domesticated companion animals. Indeed, many people don't think they are actually domesticated at all! What are they thinking behind those inscrutable eyes? Are they still wild at heart like their bigger brethren?
We'll let you decide for yourselves after you hear Steve Zawistowski and Rebecca Stites talk about their work with cats big and small.
Do Animals Have Personality?
Sam Gosling, Andrew Sih
Moderator: Heather Berlin
Curious or fearful, introverted or extroverted, negative or positive. These are all terms we might use to describe another human being's personality. But what about other species? Can they be described in the same terms? Are there differences in animal personalities among individuals, between different herds or groups, within families--and what does this mean for their survival? Do emotion, genetics and circumstance come into play in defining the personality of another species? Come to think of it -- what ARE personalities?
Eagles, Pigeons, Swine and Puppies: What people think about animal thinking.
Michael Noonan, Robert Lurz, William Lynn
Moderator: John Fraser
How do people think about animals thinking? The words we use about animals speaks a great deal about how we care, and what we are willing to believe they know. Social scientists and ethicists have spent a great deal of time considering what people believe about how animals think, the way our words teach us to respect animals or demean them because of what we want to believe about their ability to think.
This round table discussion brings together four people who have researched the history, lore and practical implications of how the way we think about animals influences human behavior and what people are willing to believe about the study of animal thinking, and animals themselves.
PREVIOUS LECTURES FROM THE
An Interview with Temple Grandin
Moderator: Jonathan Balcombe
Temple Grandin is one of the most recognizable names in the studies of animal behavior. She is a doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. Grandin is a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements. Both movements commonly cite her work regarding animal welfare, neurology, and philosophy. In 2010, she was the subject of an award-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin, and in the same year, she was listed in the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the "Heroes" category.
Communication: What can animals tell us?
Chris Clark, Katy Payne
Moderator: Diana Reiss
All animals need to communicate, and the myriad ways that have evolved to do this are fascinating. In fact, we can learn a lot about how and why we developed our own language system by understanding how other species have evolved their own. Some species communicate with sound, others by smell, gesture, magnetism, facial expression, electricity or bioluminescence. Many, including us, communicate with a combination of different senses and affects. Unfortunately, it’s just our bad luck that we haven’t figured out a way to understand what the others are saying. However, large strides have been made in the past several years to bridge this gap and the results are often amazing, not to mention humorous.
Joseph Barber, Marc Hauber
Who would have guessed that an animal that we take so for granted has such a rich a history with us, is so unique and is as intelligent as it is? Chickens make great pets, they talk to each other while still in the egg, they have a sense of time, recognize their friends and can run up to 9 miles per hour. Some are exotically beautiful. It’s time to reconsider these unsung birds.
Sharing Emotional Worlds
Jonathan Balcombe, Marc Bekoff, Jaak Pankseep
Moderator: Mark Moffett
If animals think, can we afford to say that they don't feel; that they don't have emotions? Utilizing sophisticated research methodologies, scientists have been able to look into the brain to understand the basis and existance of animal's emotional responses.
Now, advances in the use of fMRIs and sophisticated research methodologies have allowed scientists to look into the brain and study the behavior of other species in an effort to understand the basis and existence of their emotional responses.
PREVIOUS LECTURES FROM THE
So, You Think You Know Your Dog?
Alexandra Horowitz, Evan Maclean, James Serpel, Steve Zawistowski
Moderator: Don Moore
How much do we really understand about dogs? They've lived with us for millennia but we still don't understand them as well as they understand us, and we're just beginning to understand what incredible roles they play in our lives. What more is there to learn about our best friends?
The ALEX Project: Learning From a Bird Brain
Moderator: Diana Reiss
Before the ALEX Project we had no idea what went on inside of a parrot's brain. ALEX and his teacher, scientist Irene Pepperberg changed the way the world understood what it meant to be a 'bird brain'. ALEX, a beautiful African Grey, expressed his wishes, scolded the people in the lab as well as his avian colleagues, understood the concept of zero, made up words, teased his teachers, and generally acted as if there was no hierarchy between the 2 species. ALEX had a unique and strong personality which he shared which all who would listen. Irene and ALEX were an amazing team.
Living in Alien Worlds
Jelle Atema, Tim Goldsmith, Katy Payne, Stim Wilcox
Moderator: Carl Zimmer
Animals experience their worlds in ways we cannot understand—with senses we have lost long ago or never had. They define their worlds with exquisite senses of smell and hearing, with vision that sees what we can't imagine, or with responses to chemical or electromagnetic properties that we are insensitive to. By these yard sticks, many animals are far smarter than we are.
Exploring Creative Minds
Marc Bekoff, Dorothy Fragaszy, Kevin McGowan, Diana Reiss;
Moderator: Stuart Firestein
The traditional definition of creativity includes the ability to solve problems, the use of intuition and the evidence of insightful perception to reach a solution. By these or any standards, many animals are indeed creative in their ability to achieve novel solutions to the challenges that are presented to them—both in their own environments and in the unfamiliar ones presented by scientists.
David B. Edelman. James L. Gould, Dale Jamieson, Irene M. Pepperberg;
Moderater: Diana Reiss
The question of animal sentience, self-awareness and intelligence would have been heresy in the scientific community 50 years ago when animals were considered mere automatons--their behavior genetically hard-wired. But the possibility that they make choices, have emotions and create unique cultural identities has received a lot more attention in the past 15 years. While it is still controversial, there is growing evidence that many animals are much smarter and more sophisticated than we knew—and that brings up some difficult issues.